If you’ve never been to the Edinburgh Festival, then now's the year to get going and head across the border - especially if you love comedy.
Throughout August, the Scottish capital groans under the weight of thousands of funny people, all eager for visitors to come and see their latest show.
The past few months have been spent honing and perfecting their new hour, but which one to see?
Here, Always Be Comedy’s James Gill handpicks five of his favourites…
Suzi Ruffell: Common
Suzi Ruffell is one of those comedians who get better each time you see them.
She’s supported the likes of Josh Widdicombe on tour but, on the evidence of both her new show and her form this past few months, the time has come for her to be recognised as a comedy tour de force in her own right.
In the same way Jack Whitehall embraced his posh background and turned it into comedy gold en route to mega-stardom, Ruffell has mined her working-class background to make for a defiant, ballsy and rollickingly funny hour. Crowds don’t just warm to her; they love her.
Aug 4-14, 16-28, 20.20. Get tickets here
Rachel Parris: Best Laid Plans
“Oh no,” you might shriek. “A musical comedian.” Settle down, Parris is the real deal.
Improv, ballads, wicked-smart lyrics, stand-up, she can do the lot. And, occasionally, behind that saccharine-sweet smile can beat a blackly comic heart: Parris lures you in with what seems like a jaunty number, but those lyrics invariably pack a deeper punch.
In Best Laid Plans, Parris addresses a break-up and the relatable pain that goes with it, such as getting set-up with the other singletons at weddings, sex and, of course, going to the gym (Watch a sneak peek here.)
Aug 3-28, 18:50. Get tickets here.
Lolly Adefope: Lolly 2
Every now and then a newish act comes along that generates a strong word of mouth. And no matter how cheery and supportive you consider yourself to be, it’s impossible for a dark part of your soul not to think, “But are they really that good?”
Well, character comedian Lolly Adefope is even better than the hype suggests, with creativity and ideas positively spewing from her.
She is electrifying, a bright ball of energy: her “black Hermione” sketch is even better than it sounds and features in this show – her second hour – as do a raft of new characters. You can also catch Adefope in sparkling form as lovable bar girl Sam in Sky One sitcom Rovers.
Aug 3-28, 18:00. get tickets here.
Ellie Taylor: Infidelliety
Proving she's got multiple strings to her bow, Ellie Taylor is a model, actor and comedian.
Taylor was always annoyingly talented on the open-mic circuit a few years ago, but she’s since added years on the circuit – those vital hard yards – to become virtually bulletproof.
This show is all about marriage and monogamy – keep an eye out for one bit about Taylor’s attempts to become promiscuous, before meeting the man who would become her husband.
Aug 4-14, 16-28, 14:20. Get tickets here.
Bridget Christie: Mortal
How good is Bridget Christie? How much does she care about her craft? How seriously does she take comedy?
Put it this way: Brexit happened on Thursday 23 June (regardless of how you voted, we’re pretty confident you’ll have that date seared on to your brain) and Christie rewrote her entire show. “What, you mean tweaked it to crowbar in a few Brexit gags?” No. Christie had so much to say, knowing that what had happened was so seismic, that she crafted an entirely new show about the political and social fallout of Britain’s decision to leave Europe.
This is why Bridget is regarded as Edinburgh royalty. This is why Bridget is one of those acts you have to see every August: because you want to know what she’s been working on this past few months.
Aug 5-14, 17-29, 11.00. Get tickets here.
Edinburgh Fringe takes part from the 5-29 August this year. You can buy tickets here.